Flat bed die-cutting process

BOBST and flat bed die-cutting go hand in hand, after all we did invent the technology with our first Autoplaten® press, the AP 900, introduced back in 1940. From that pioneering die-cutter, right up to today’s highly sophisticated production lines, BOBST has continuously developed and improved the technology of the flat bed die-cutting process.

We have achieved this by listening to the feedback of our customers, by investing heavily in research and development, and by accumulating unmatched skills and experience among our people.

The BOBST range of flat bed die-cutters (also called cutter-creasers or punching machines in some countries) is the most extensive available in the market and offers a wide choice of productivity and automation levels, in press widths ranging from a compact 76cm (30”) to an impressive 2.1m (82”). Each of the machines in the range offers a level of reliability, versatility, and performance that closely matches the needs of a particular industrial sector or type of business.

Flat bed die-cutting process

Flat bed die-cutting is a process used for the cutting, creasing, embossing, waste stripping, and blank separation of a range of sheet materials, from light papers and carton board, through heavy solid board, plastics and in-mold labels (IML), to micro-flutes and most types of corrugated board. The process is used in a wide variety of sectors from packaging, label, and display manufacture to commercial printing.

Process advantages

By combining highly accurate registration with precise sheet control at each stage of the process, a flat bed die-cutter offers the ultimate in quality when cutting, creasing or embossing sheeted material.

Flat bed die-cutter and process description

A flat bed die-cutting press may be an offline, stand-alone machine, or may be inline with a printing press and/or other units. Having been fed into the press and held by a gripper bar, the sheet of substrate is transported through a number of stations which carry out sequential processes. The exact configuration of a flat bed die-cutter will vary depending on the application but, in broad terms, the elements that may be present are:

  • Feeder or loader: Using suction heads or a push system, this unit transports sheets from the pile to the machine in-feed
  • In-feed: Takes control of each individual sheet and registers it to the cutting tools using mechanical or dynamic registration
  • Platen section: This is the heart of the machine, bringing the cutting die and cutting plate together under pressure. Held between them, the sheet of substrate may be die-cut, creased or embossed, depending on the application and substrate
  • Stripping section: Internal waste, and sometimes side and rear trim, is removed using an upper stripping tool, central stripping board, and, in some tooling arrangements, lower stripping pins
  • Blank separation section: Using universal or dedicated blanking tools this unit pushes individual cartons from the sheet, creating a pile of flat blanks ready for further processing or for transfer to the customer. A blank separation unit incorporates its own delivery unit
  • Delivery: On machines with no blank separation section, the delivery creates either a pile of full sheets or of blanks attached to each other by nicks. The front trim of the sheet may be removed at this stage

Flat bed die-cutters used in the corrugated industry may be augmented by peripheral units such as breakers and palletizers.

BOBST expertise and knowledge

With extensive and ongoing research and development, the BOBST die-cutter range continues to push the boundaries of what is possible using the flat bed die-cutting process. This constant evolution has seen BOBST adapt the Autoplaten® concept to suit the needs of many different types of user, from entry level to expert, and from small businesses to multi-national corporations.